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7 Tips to Make Your Small Business to Succeed Online

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You’re now an online business owner, congratulations! Now what? Every business owner wishes that a steady stream of traffic will begin parading in and out of their website. However, the sad reality is that maintaining a steady flow of business right after you open your doors can be challenging. Aside from competition from other businesses, small businesses do not have the luxury of deep funding.

The good news is that there are ways to make sure your small business succeeds online. Check out our tips.

Don’t Overlook The Target Market

Your products and services should be tailor made for your target audience. This is crucial for small businesses because you can’t expect to slay big businesses on your first year online or even in your physical location. Without knowing who your target market is or if your audience exists, you can’t realistically expect your business to succeed.

Knowing who your target market is will give you clear focus as to your purpose, marketing tactics, web design, SEO and many more. Adopting a general approach is no longer feasible because if you plan to court potential customers you need to know their age, gender, lifestyle and the like. Catering to every possible niche is a good path to failure. Knowing who your target market is will tell you who your product is made for, why they need it and why they should buy it from you.

Make Customers Your First Priority

There’s no point in running a business if you don’t have customers. They keep you in business therefore they should be your priority. Considering the importance of your customers in all stages of marketing can help your business ensure greater consumer satisfaction and encourage long-term relationships and repeat purchase.

Aside from keeping your company afloat, customers can also help you improve your products and services by providing feedback and suggestions. They are a valuable asset when you want to compare your services with your competitor. They can tell you where you can improve so that you can serve them better and even attract new customers.

Don’t Do It Alone

You don’t have to do it all alone even if you’re a small business. Great businessmen succeed because they listen to the advice of the experts. When you run a business, you aren’t expected to know everything. All of us have our own specialties and approaching people who are experts in fields that you need help shows maturity on your part and can help your business tremendously.

Advisors are not only good for advice; they are also good for bouncing ideas with. They can help inspect what you’re doing, push you towards success and even hold you accountable for what you have committed to do. Remember this is not about you, it’s about the business.

Delegate

Nobody is expecting you to do everything in your business. This is what employees are for, so delegate tasks and avoid micromanaging them. Remember that you hired certain employees to do a job, therefore you should leave them to do it. All you have to do is to supervise them, trust in their training and watch your employees shine as they soar with you and take your business to new heights.

This is why you need to choose employees carefully. There are people that only see their jobs as a means to an end, to put meals on the table or to pay bills. These are the kinds of people you want to avoid. Try to pick somebody who shares your vision and somebody who is willing to work hard for you. To find these people you need to take your time during the hiring process. Rushing will leave you with flighty unmotivated employees and make you miss opportunities to hire people you can depend on.

Don’t Stop Learning

Online businesses are there to make shopping easier for consumers. If you have an online business but don’t have enough knowledge on how to leverage it to its maximum potential, then learn. This is not only with regards to running a business online. If you feel that you need more skills and training to make you a good businessman or leader then take the opportunity. Being knowledgeable is like arming yourself with information that can help your business succeed online.

Write Down Your Plan

It doesn’t have to be a novel, a few pages will do. Businesses need to have a written plan as to its goals, strategies, financing, sales and marketing plan and objectives. Remember that without a plan, it’s just a dream. A plan will can serve as a roadmap to where you want to go and keep you focused.

Now that you have a plan, don’t marry it. A good general knows that even the best plans can sometimes backfire. Be flexible. Confront and then conquer.

Financing

Business can be unpredictable which is why you need lots of money. Even if you make good money, you’re still going to need more at some point to meet demands, upgrade, buy new equipment, etc. seeking out investors is always a good way to keep your online business dreams afloat. Equity crowdfunding is a good money source for small online business.

Small business owners must do things differently in order to survive the business world. New strategies are always required and businessmen need to be fluid and adaptable in order to run their business and cater to clients properly.

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Business

Tech Trends Changing The Way We Do Business

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tech trends

Whether you’re an established name in the business world or you’re just making your start, you ignore the march of technology at your own peril. For companies with even the smallest footprints, some of the tech trends emerging today may be life-changing. Here’s a brief tour.

Cleaner Materials, Packaging and Standards

With just a few stubborn exceptions, most folks in America and throughout the world agree: Life on Earth can’t continue if we keep squandering our resources. Developments in more energy-efficient production equipment save us cash money on our utility bills all the time and bring us ever-closer to true energy independence. The materials being pursued are lighter, stronger and cheaper base materials to make products more durable and inexpensive to manufacture. What about some of the other exciting opportunities in new packaging and packing materials? Besides looking potentially awesome, these outside-the-box ideas help us remove lots of the more harmful chemicals and plastics from our supply chains. This action will keep them out of the hands of our clients and customers — and out of the environment for good. Tech trends that include better technologies, plus social pressures, let us design less wasteful and more appealing products and packaging all the time to ultimately help raise our shared definition of excellence.

Crowdsourced Design and Troubleshooting

Maybe it was inevitable, but modern technology has given businesses something they just didn’t have in decades past: the opportunity to get their customers to do some of the work. We’ve all had to become citizen journalists, the needs and wants of our globalized world mean we’ve also had to become hobbyist creators in our own small ways. Plus, it’s just really fun to take part in the creation process! Kickstarter was the first company to take “democratized creation” — to borrow/turn/re-coin a phrase — mainstream, but that kind of crowdsourcing is just the tip of the iceberg. Current tech trends has made product creation a more social process from nearly top to bottom, letting brands from all types and sizes a chance to engage with their intended audience. This allows brands to gather valuable feedback about the development phase of product design. Engaging directly with the most creative minds in your audience also lets you iron out any kinks as they crop up and effectively “rev” a brand-new product for a more confident official rollout.

Direct-to-Consumer Delivery

Nobody likes the middleman. There are growing tech trends of brands working to engage directly with you through smartphone apps and push notifications. It’s also why we’re seeing more subscription-based and home delivery services pop up all the time. It took a tech giant like Amazon to throw down the gauntlet in the home grocery delivery space, and more are continuing to lead the way as consumers demand more convenience from the products they want most. For example, Marketview Liquor will not only help you find the best wine for the season, they’ll also deliver your wine right to your door. The whole point is that customers know how to do research. If you’ve made yourself visible and your presence suggests a superior product without the hassle of brick-and-mortar shopping with the middlemen, and if you provide truly measurable incentives like cheap or free shipping for repeat customers and discounts for recurring deliveries, they’ll probably choose your expert wine curation or your hand-selected ski bindings over those offered online by a more faceless corporate brand every time. For the faceless corporations, all of this works for you, too. A major point here is that each of the tech trends on this list are, in their own way, leveling the playing field. The little guy, more each day, has the means to compete with “known quantities” and familiar retailers.

Hobbyist Home Production

We’ve talked a little bit about how crowdsourced design like Scooterboard can help lead to more thoughtfully designed products in the run-up to a major product hitting the market. Thanks to 3D printing and other technologies, the very act of producing some of those projects is also vastly more open and accessible. Today, you can pick up a 3D printer with limited capabilities for around the $300 markConsider the nearly countless advantages of allowing consumers to print their own “OEM” replacement products — or even modifications to existing products. Then there’s this: What if you don’t need to ship them a product at all? This is one step beyond even direct-to-consumer delivery: It’s a state where consumers could purchase blueprints for general product types, add their own features and embellishments to then build it right in their home using 3D-printed components in a variety of plastics and metals. This is the future. It’s not quite here yet, but it’s coming. If you sell a physical product yourself, how might you take advantage of this situation?

Apps and Subscriptions

Information powers our lives. But information isn’t a physical product. Apps have changed everything about how we consume products and do business. Back when there was a physical counterpart — a CD, DVD or even a thumb drive — to the software we used, you paid once and had access to a “finished” product for a year or so. Some of us even remember waiting in line for Mac OS X Tiger on DVD! Now that “app culture” is here, it means consumers expect a constant drip-feed of new products and user experiences. That means subscriptions. Those colorful little squares on your smartphone are now windows. You can open and look through some of those windows for free, but the view you enjoy takes a lot of hard work to maintain. It’s a rich garden full of features with diligent developers trying to keep features bloat and bugs at bay while refreshing the UI often enough to keep you interested.

App-based subscriptions have had a shaky rollout, with even seasoned fans giving their favorite developers “the business” for pivoting to a subscription model instead of sticking to the pay-once-and-receive-updates-for-life model we’ve all been enjoying until recently. Smartphones are nearly indispensable in our personal and business lives. Now, those of us who use them will need to be more selective about the companies we do business with, and become patrons of the ones who truly excel in their field. For business, it’s a huge challenge as well as an opportunity. Apps like Ulysses and Weather Atlas are now available via subscription, ensuring their talented coders a chance to eat and their users in getting new products as soon as they’re ready. Even websites like Medium and The Atlantic are trying out new membership platforms to monetize information and business in a world where technology has delivered users from advertisements. Publishers still need a revenue stream however.

Your primary product may not be an app at all. App culture is a tech trend that gives you an opportunity to turn your presence on somebody’s Home Screen into a money-making, brand-expanding opportunity. Make yourself indispensable.

Technology, Business and Destiny

To say technology will let us achieve our dreams would be a flowery statement. We’re all still trying to make sense of most of it, but it’s clear that there are exciting tech trends in front of us all — most particularly for excelling in business. For the many reasons touched on above and lots more, it’ll pay off in the end to stay informed about new technologies as they emerge. If you’re not, somebody else definitely will be.

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Growth Hacking

SpaceX Trademarking Starlink As The Name For Their Internet

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SpaceX Internet

The multibillion-dollar SpaceX satellite network project created by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was created in 2015 to provide cheap global internet to people around the world in an accessible manner. SpaceX is trademarking the name Starlink as the name for SpaceX internet.

The origin of Starlink comes from the US Patent and Trademark Office on August 21st as a trademark filing. The company wants to trademark SpaceX internet as Starlink to capture their motive for a wireless broadband communication services, high-speed wireless Internet access, telecommunications gateway services, and other various areas related to the satellite communication network.

The estimated budget towards the network project is going to cost up to $10 billion to even get started. Though the investment is large, Elon Musk sees this opportunity as a special type of revenue for the future once it is completed. As broadcasted by the Satellite Industry Association report, the satellite industry is at an estimated value at about $260 billion in 2016 and the launch services are totaled to $5.5 billion. This data further cements their advantage in pursuing the satellite network project.

Upon entering the satellite industry, Elon Musk seems to have an advantage with SpaceX. The reusable Falcon 9 rocket and future Falcon Heavy vehicle seems to be dominating the journey to orbit. SpaceX takes up all responsibilities and approaches to nearly all aspects of design and manufacturing by what’s known as a “vertically integrated approach”. In an effort to doing this, their project is at a lower-cost to launch compared to others entering the industry.

Elon Musk’s known scheme in doing the impossible with SpaceX and Tesla is coming into contact with his satellite network. The vision with this network is a revolutionary act, in their efforts to build internet access to underdeveloped grounds with difficulties in acquiring modern communications infrastructure. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been coordinating with the Federal Communications Commission to bring a satellite constellation to space for a better reach and expansion of internet access. Representatives from the SpaceX satellite network project met with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in March to explore that venture deeper.

There are attempts from other companies to expand internet to more people around the world. A Virginia-based internet venture called OneWeb is racing to have an operational network. After securing another $1.2 billion in investment, they are planning on building satellites for SES, one of the world’s largest satellite operators, while organizing a medium-sized orbit network.

Their schedule is planned to launch sometime in 2019 and will continue through 2024, while SpaceX promises to regularly update their network to meet customer demand. Elon Musk is assumed to announce more on the the project when he speaks at the International Astronautical Congress in Australia. Expanding access to better communication with SpaceX internet is a step closer to a better world.

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Business

Succeed As A Veteran Owned Business

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Starting and maintaining a business may be hard work, but can be made easier with the right network. Having the right support and connections may be the thin line between success and failure. If you’re a veteran entrepreneur with a business idea, you can receive funding to help bring those ideas to life. We will explain the steps to succeed as a veteran owned business.

Find Out If You Qualify

If you have previously served in the military and/or have an injury-related disability, you may be eligible for government contracting and additional funding. In order to receive this certification, the individual must own at least 51 percent of the company that they are applying for, and manage the day-to-day operations of the business. There is also a procedure that you’ll need to follow in order to prove your veteran and/or disabled status. In order to prove veteran status you will need to provide a Department of Defense Form (DD214). If you are applying as a service-disabled veteran, you will need to get a letter from the US Department of Veteran Affairs proving that you are actually disabled. In many cases, if you are not interested in securing government contracts for your veteran owned business, these steps are not necessary.

Register with The VA

Another crucial step in the qualification process is to register through the VA or Veterans Affairs. Registering will not only assist with the strategic marketing of your business but will also add a legitimacy factor in being known as a veteran owned business. People are generally supportive of service men and women and want to support your endeavors, so proudly promoting that you have a veteran owned business will add to growth. The VetBiz Registry, which acts as a business database is the first step in registering with the VA. You will need to have your DD214, letter of disability status, tax forms, bank statements, business license, any partner agreements, and some other additional documents may be requested at the discretion of the VA.

Utilize the SDVOSBC

The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act was created in 1999. The goal of this act is to generate over $15 billion of contracting dollars for businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. Being that some veterans return from duty with disabilities stemming from conflict, this program sets aside a certain amount of contracts to service them first. As long as you are considered disabled from service no matter your rating, you are eligible to securing a contract. However, if you do have a 100 percent disability rating the government has contingencies in place to allow a spouse or caregiver to run the business in place of the veteran. It’s very convenient and an amazing opportunity for vets who have served to be able to get their ideas out no matter their status.

Marketing Your Veteran Owned Business

Veterans are normally praised and promoted for their service in the armed forces, but the magnitude of entrepreneurship in this demographic is overlooked. According to Forbes, there are over 3 million Veteran owned businesses run in the United States, 5.7 million people are employed by Veterans, and Veterans are twice as likely to own a business than non-vets. These statistics show that there is a strong thread between the personalities of veterans and the interest in entrepreneurship. Strength, discipline, and leadership are all valuable traits to possess in business. Registering your business with BuyVeteran.com can also be a great resource to use for promotional items. When you register you will receive badges to display throughout your business/store, along with apparel (T-Shirts, Hats), Magnets, and other marketing items. Using the local media in your community, as well as social media, can help with promotion. Using your veteran status to appeal to an audience who already has admiration and respect for you will surely render growth.

Know Everything About Your Industry

If your chosen business field is completely out of your realm of knowledge be sure to research as much as possible before requesting support/investors. You should be an expert on your business idea as well as having a solid business plan ready to execute. Doing research includes finding out who your target audience is, how to price your products/services, who your competitors are, and what laws are in place in that industry. Will you need a license to provide certain services? How does paying taxes change for a business owner as opposed to an employee? These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered before you move forward with the business. Once you have completed all these steps you are ready to take on the world as a Vetrepreneur! Good luck!

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